LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Courts need to impose democratic will

Regarding Mr. Roof’s July 12 Letter to the Editor titled, “Hypocrisy of criticizing immigration policy,” a rebuttal of Mr. Gaddis’s July 6 Letter titled, “U.S. treatment of asylum seekers is inhumane,” Mr. Roof disagreed with Mr. Gaddis’ contention that the founders created a “constitutional democracy.”

Mr. Roof utilized a falsely attributed Benjamin Franklin quote, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch,” to illustrate his contention that the founders did not create a constitutional democracy, but instead a republic. Diligent research discovered that the word “lunch” in this quote was non-existent until the 1820s, decades after this Founding Father’s death.

Professor Volokh, a law teacher at UCLA, advised that we are both a republic and a democracy as well as a constitutional democracy in which courts restrain in some measure the democratic will. (Washington Post May 13 article, “Is the United States of America a republic or a democracy?”)

The 1951 Refugee Convention regarding immigration policy declared that United States federal and international law gave immigrants the right to seek asylum in another country. The first requirement is that they establish a fear of persecution in their own country.

There have not been many efforts to begin resolving immigration loopholes here since the so-called “gang of eight bipartisan senators” wrote an 844-page “Merit-Based” immigration policy. It was passed by the Senate in 2013 and died in the Republican led house. Two recent immigration bills proposed by the Republicans were also voted down.

False reports allege that a federal law was passed in 1997 to allow separating parents from children who apply for asylum our border. This was found to be a false claim by factcheck.org and Snopes, two very reliable fact-checking sources.

The 1997 “Flores settlement” issued by the Supreme Court, required that unaccompanied children could only be detained for twenty days before releasing them to a sponsor, foster family, or group home pending resolution of their immigration cases. This settlement and a 2008 human trafficking law never stipulated that the government was authorized to separate accompanied children from their parents.

Attorney General Sessions began illegally enforcing a “no tolerance” policy that included separating parents from children at border crossings and charging every parent with a felony. The fact is that immigrants entering illegally for the first time with or without their children are to be charged by current law with a misdemeanor federal offense.

Accompanied and unaccompanied immigrants must be detained under current law for immigration proceedings to see if they meet the requirements to pursue a valid asylum claim. If not, they are then deported from the country in an orderly process instead of setting up a “lost and found” agency that Sessions was forced to create. There are still 600 or more children this lost and found agency cannot relocate with their parents. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

In closing, Mr. Roof alleged that there have been enormous illegal costs aliens have burdened taxpayers with. However, a New York Times Sept. 18, 2017 article titled, “Trump administration rejects study showing positive impact of refugees,” illustrated that the Department of Human Services found that refugees brought in a $63 billion surplus in government revenues over the past decade.

Many of our businesses that hire these oftentimes illegal as well as legal immigrant workers give them an identification number for IRS purposes, enabling them to pay the same taxes we do. Contrary to popular myth, there has never been any proof that illegal immigrants cast votes in our elections. Their crime rate is also low. False news stories distort our belief system here and in other states.

I would encourage Mr. Roof to Google the 75 ways that dreaded word “Socialism” has improved America. Medicare tops the list as one of the most favorite socialist programs in America. Socialism and capitalism have always co-existed in America. If the Republicans did not keep voting to give exorbitant tax cuts to the wealthiest among us, Social Security, another socialist program, that Mr. Roof advocates, would be solvent forever.

The rich have never been mandated to contribute their fair share to this program. Republican trickle-down voodoo economics has been the equivalent of a full-course dinner for the ruling corporations and their shareholders. It has not served the dwindling middle class more than a cup of tea at the table and we cannot live on tea alone.

Whatever happened to wage growth keeping pace with the cost of living in this country?

Bill Clemens

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